With the recently drafted rookies anxiously waiting to make their NBA debut in the next couple months, it’s time to look ahead and predict which five rookies will stand out the most and be in contention for the Rookie of the Year award.
You have to start with the first overall pick, of course. Ben Simmons is a superstar in the making, from what many say about him. Besides summer league, he’s yet to make his official NBA debut and already receiving comparisons to LeBron James and Magic Johnson, which puts a lot of pressure put on him early in his young career. From day one he’ll be the star and go-to guy on the Philadelphia 76ers. He has the potential to make it big in the league, but it all starts with his rookie season. He’ll put up beastly stats I’m sure just because he’s on the 76ers, but as the years go by, and the young team develops, he’ll look to make the 76ers a contender.
After finishing with their worst record in franchise history, the Lakers selected Brandon Ingram second overall in the draft. Like Simmons, Ingram has superstar potential. Ingram is looking to fill Kobe Bryant’s shoes now that he’s gone, but now every player will be looking for extra touches as well. Paired with D’Angelo Russell and Julius Randle, this team has a bright future. D’Angelo always was considered as Kobe’s replacement, but Ingram will look to shine his freshman season and become the face of this young Lakers’ team.
Buddy Hield could be an absolute stud or bust in this league. He can score the basketball with ease, and can shoot lights out. He was deemed the best scorer and shooter in this past draft class. With last season’s starting shooting guard Eric Gordon gone from the Pelicans, that allows Hield to shine at the two guard position and do what he does best. He needs to improve his game and be not only able to score but be an all-around player. To survive in the NBA, you have to adjust your game and step out of your comfort zone. Buddy Hield should do just that and be a stud on the Pelicans next to Anthony Davis.
Kris Dunn has shown flashes of greatness during his summer league tenure, but it’s when he makes his official NBA debut we can see what he’s all about. Picked fifth overall by the Minnesota Timberwolves, he’s put into a great situation. He’ll have the opportunity to become the third consecutive Timberwolves’ rookie to win Rookie of the Year honors. He’ll pair alongside Zach LaVine, Andrew Wiggins, and Karl-Anthony Towns. Not to mention, Dunn is older than all of these players. He’s a very well-rounded point guard who could be a star in this league. He could be the final piece of the puzzle for this unbelievably young Timberwolves squad as they look to take over the Western Conference in the next few years.
Thon Maker had a lot of red flags surrounding him leading up to the draft, like how old he was (seriously, how old is he?) Regardless of all the concerns, the Milwaukee Bucks took a chance on him by selecting him tenth overall. It was a reach for him but apparently the Bucks saw something in him other teams didn’t. He’s athletic, can spread the floor, and a defensive beast. He has the potential to be a phenomenal defensive player in the NBA and will fit well with the Bucks, another unbelievably young team. He can be a game-changer and be a superstar if he keeps improving his game and finds out how old he actually is.